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Best friends and ‘big, bright souls’: Family, teachers remember Moscow homicide victims Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen

Nov. 18, 2022 Updated Sat., Nov. 19, 2022 at 4:16 p.m.

Childhood friends Kaylee Gonclaves and Madison Mogen posed for a photo during a wedding in June. Both were graduates of Lake City High School.  (Goncalves family)
Childhood friends Kaylee Gonclaves and Madison Mogen posed for a photo during a wedding in June. Both were graduates of Lake City High School. (Goncalves family)
From staff reports

Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were the closest of friends, and there was little doubt about that as they walked the halls of Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene.

The two women, who graduated from Lake City in 2019, were among the four University of Idaho students killed early Nov. 13 in stabbings at a home near the UI campus.

Coeur d’Alene Public Schools asked Lake City teachers to share their remembrances of Mogen and Goncalves. Here are some of their responses, as well as a tribute to Mogen from her aunt:

Katie Blackshear, Mogen’s aunt

“Maddie is my niece, my brother’s only child, the first of four grandkids on our side of the family. I was there the day she was born and have loved her from the start. I am writing this tribute on behalf of my family. Maddie was cherished by our family and we are all shattered.

Maddie exuded love. She was kind, gentle, and oh so fun. Maddie was smart and motivated. She often worked multiple jobs, did extremely well in school and somehow always prioritized time with her friends and family first.

Maddie was so sweet with little kids and adored her cousins. She never met an animal she didn’t love. She could compel us to do anything she wanted, somehow always walking away from the family gift war with the best gift in tow. She once sent me a text that said she was so glad to have been born into our family and well, the feeling was mutual. We will all have a Maddie-shaped hole in our hearts and can only hope it radiates a fraction of the love and joy Maddie always did.”

Donna Staub, English teacher

It was my first year teaching at LCHS. On the first day of school, students quietly walked into my classroom, sizing up their Dual Enrollment English teacher. As students were quietly finding their seats, the door opened, and two girls walked in – Kaylee and Madison – their smiles and voices lighting up the room. They were outgoing, friendly and joined at the hip from day one. Kaylee and Madison (even 5 years later, I remember the two of them as a hyphenated phrase: kaylee-and-madison), always had a sunny attitude, a joy of life that was infectious. Their first assignment was to write their “reading autobiography.” Madison shared that she loved “To Kill a Mockingbird” and said that it taught her “to always take the high ground even if people look bad on you for it.” One could see the feistiness in her, and she was a girl who’d take the “high ground” as a student and a person. In her autobiography, Kaylee recalled how reading for points in elementary school helped form a competitive spirit in her and how she always “tried to read more challenging books in order to earn more points than her friends.” She related one of her favorite Christmas gifts as a child was when she got the whole set of the Bobbsey Twins books and that she felt like she “won the jackpot” with that gift.

Students were asked to read parts of their autobiographies aloud in class, and I can still hear her voice reading that excerpt. Throughout the semester, they’d come into class just a whisper under the late bell, with an iced drink in their hands, always laughing, always ready to learn. Kaylee and Madison let me know early on their goal was to go to the University of Idaho together and join a sorority. I believe that they’re both smiling down on their loved ones together, and I hope there is at least the smallest of comfort in that for their families at this terrible time. Kaylee-and-Madison were both shining lights who exuded joy, and I’m thankful that our paths crossed at Lake City High School.

Shelly Blank, reading teacher

I had Kaylee in second grade. She was a sweet soul, bright and engaging. I had to come to work today and see her face again in the way I remember her. I found a few photos of her, one of which was at our Halloween party. I still remember her laugh and will always remember her smile and the way she drew others into her light. She will be tremendously missed. I pray for strength for the families and friends affected by this tragedy. Kaylee was a treasure.

Todd Jasmin, English and speech teacher

I had both girls in the same Speech class. They sat next to each other, and it became obvious from the first day that these two were buddies. The expression “thick as thieves” comes to mind (more the thick part than actual thievery), but each had a good sense of humor and a big personality; they complimented each other well. They also knew how to push each other’s buttons, and could be fairly brutal in their smack talk to each other. But mostly they looked out for one another, and would fiercely defend one another should smack talk come from anyone else. Kaylee and Maddie were big, bright souls, and will be missed, May they rest in peace.

Madison Seymour, English teacher

Maddie and Kaylee – Kaylee and Maddie: They went together; they belonged together. When I think of this dynamic duo, I instantly think of their vibrant smiles and boisterous laughs. I had the pleasure of teaching both young women in senior English the 2018-19 school year. I was new to the profession and just trying to figure out how to be a good teacher. I know I made mistakes along the way, but Maddie and Kaylee were always supportive and positive. The encouragement I received from them made my job so much easier. Maddie and Kaylee were a continual source of light at Lake City High School. I feel so fortunate to have witnessed their work ethic, passion, and perseverance. It was so clear that Maddie deeply loved the people in her life. She always displayed empathy and understanding for those around her. Maddie will be so greatly missed. The quote “I am the author of my own life” describes Kaylee and her drive perfectly. I knew Kaylee was ready to take the world by storm after graduation. She was ready to leave her mark. Kaylee will be so greatly missed.

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